This past week the national media featured many stories about California’s newly adopted Assembly Bill 1266 recognizing the rights of transgender students in K-12 schools. While a few other states have put in place similar provisions, California is the first state to address the issue with a statewide law. It’s an encouraging accomplishment.
Meanwhile, things seem to be going in the opposite direction in Florida, as Huffington Post reported today:
“In Miami-Dade, it’s still legal to fire, deny housing, refuse services, or just plain discriminate against an individual for being transgender. That’s because a proposed amendment to protected transgendered people under Miami-Dade County’s anti-discrimination law failed this week — and advocates are blaming “chief obstructionist” Commissioner Lynda Bell in particular. In May, the county’s largest gay rights group, SAVE Dade, introduced a”TransEquality” campaign “to pass a trans-inclusive countywide Human Rights Ordinance” that would amend Miami-Dade’s 1998 anti-discrimination law. The law protects gays and lesbians, but doesn’t include language for transgender rights.
“The proposal seemed on track when, sponsored by Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson, it passed on its first reading with an 11-1 vote — with Bell casting the lone vote against it, according to the Miami Herald. The amendment then went to the Health and Social Services Committee, of which Bell is a member. But before the committee hearing, the Christian Family Coalition of Miami-Dade County — an “ally” of Bell that has previously endorsed her — sent an illustrated emailurging members to show up to a public discussion. It referred to the proposal as “a dangerous law,” warning that it would “force all places to open bathrooms and dressing rooms to ‘transsexuals.'” A second flyer warned the proposal was “another excuse to discriminate against Christians” and could lead to lawsuits against religious schools.”